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Watch the Wall, My Darling
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Watch the Wall, My Darling

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,006 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
The title comes from "A Smuggler's Song" by Rudyard Kipling:
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark
Brandy for the Parson,
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

The carriage that was rolling swiftly along the rainy English marsh on the road from London suddenly stopped. A barricade blocke
Published 2002 by House of Stratus (first published 1966)
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Be Fisher I'm half way through it, and yes , so far it's clean.

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Maureen Carden
I was going to be clever and in my review compare the prospective of reading of this book between my young self and my fifty-year-older self. (Whoa how the heck did that happen) Um, no. Just about every other reviewer has done so.
Obviously curiosity was one of the main motivators in rereading Watch the Wall, My Darling (WtW,MD), along with a strong remembered fondness. When I was trying to reconstruct my reading history for Goodreads, Jane Aiken Hodge (JAH) was one of the first authors I pulled
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim Kaso
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun re-read, a solid 4 for me at this time of my life, I liked it better in memory than in reality. I cannot imagine my newly-minted adolescent self appreciated the author throwing so many impediments between the hero and the heroine, but I had less to compare it to then. I appreciated the setting and the historical frame of the story, but am amazed how grudgingly she gave us any romantic pay-off. Well written, as most books with the name "Aiken" are, must be in their DNA. Very quick and enjoy ...more
Deanne Patterson
Watch the Wall,My Darling was originally published in 1966.
Should we judge books by their cover? I've heard we should not but I do anyway. This cover really drew me in. This is a suspenseful historical gothic romance. The suspense really built up for me and I wasn't sure what to expect in this darkly atmospheric book.
Pub Date 23 Jan 2014
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Reader for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My favorite JAH book. I first read this as a teenager and have read it several times since. The whole historical romance, spys and fear of "Boney" invading England are a favorite theme for me. Jane Aiken Hodge wrote so many good books, weaving real people and facts into her stories. She passed away in 2009, and I have read her books so often, I feel like I lost a friend, though I obviously never met her.
An historical romantic suspense with an eye catching title. A lot to enjoy about this novel, a dark, gloomy and isolated manor, smugglers, a heroine who is a strong and determined character and a dark and brooding hero.

Found the story did lag in places and didn't really feel any spark between the main characters Chris and Ross. Felt the chemistry between them to be lacklustre at times. Remember reading the novel as a teenager and thoroughly enjoying it but found this novel to be a bit weaker ove
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads, gothics
Although billed as a gothic, there really wasn't much of the gothic about this story set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Better then average writing for this genre, but the story felt too modern to have taken place in the early 1800's, and I wasn't much impressed with the hero or the romance.

OK overall. Hence the 2-stars. Would try more by Hodge to see if this book is just a one-off.
Moonlight Reader
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
This was entirely delightful. I've never read anything by Jane Aiken Hodge, although I've read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by her sister, Joan.

I finally broke down and bought this book for the kindle after reading my second Phyllis Whitney reissue, Black Amber, which I've not yet reviewed over here, but which I actually enjoyed even more than Hunter's Green. This book continually popped up in my also boughts, so I've been eyeing it for a couple of years.

And, oh my, how delicious it was! The
Be Fisher
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency
Well it certainly wasn't a gothic romance (at all) the only thing dark about it was the house , always referred to as "The Dark House" but it turned out to be a pretty good read. I love when the hero feels he's in love with someone else (on account of her beauty) then discovers there's no depth of character , and ends up truly caring for the woman that blends in with the wall (so to speak). I flew through the last few chapters , I wish the whole book was more like that........action!
I would have
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
A too-perfect heroine surrounded by two-dimensional cast of characters. The reason is easlily explained. When all other characters are self-centered, uncompetent, unreasonable and shrill, the only character who is not all that can't help but look god-like.

The element of intrigue is adequate, but the attempt on romantic front fails miserably. First and foremost, I just don't see what Christina sees in Ross. Second, the way that the author creates a competition for the hero's heart at very late i
Maysam Aloush
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This author was truly talented and I am so happy that her books have been brought out in ebook form to be forever cherished. This is gothic romance at the highest level.
Lady Domino
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have read and re-read this book so many times that my copy has now fallen to pieces (does anyone know if its available as an ebook?)

I fall in love with Ross every time. I want to be Christina.

Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic-fiction
I had never heard of Watch the Wall, My Darling until it started appearing in my recommendations on Goodreads, and with such an intriguing title I knew it was a book I would have to consider reading eventually! First published in 1966, it seems to be out of print now in paperback or hardback format, but used copies are available and an ebook version has also been released.

Watch the Wall, My Darling is a gothic romantic suspense novel set on the south-east coast of England during the Napoleonic W
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This story had many gothic elements that I enjoyed - the dark ancestral home, Tretteign Grange, on Romney Marsh near the coast of England, once an abbey and now considered to be haunted; a resourceful heroine come from America to meet the grandfather she's never known because she promised her father on his deathbed she would; and as the title suggests, smuggler's are lurking about while everyone worries about Napoleon's next move.

Set in the late 19th centery, this novel was predictable but pleas
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
Christina Tretton comes back to her family estate after being born and raised in the savage new world of the American wilderness. In an Indian conflict, her father is mortally wounded in the rugged frontier backwoods and his dying wish is that she return to the austere, dark abbey on the marshes of Sussex. This sets the stage for a fascinating tale of smuggling, ambiguous characters and relationships, and heroic courage on the part of Christina.

I have been casting about for a couple of years to
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
An old favorite from my childhood, this gothic romance has all of the usual trappings, a strong heroine, a dark and lonely mansion, a dark stranger with strong arms, and danger.

Told with humor and a mild femininist slant, the story of American young lady Christina Tretton returning to Tretteign Grange, her family's ancestral seat in England, takes its title from a Kipling poem on smugglers. And smugglers certainly appear throughout the novel, as do spies, as the novel is set in England during th
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christina Tretton, a courageous and intelligent young woman who was brought up in the USA, returns to her family home in Sussex, during the time of the Napoleonic wars. She's caught up immediately in intrigue and danger, involving smuggling and more; she finds herself attracted to her cousin Ross, yet not sure how far she can trust him.

Exciting, with people who I quickly cared about. Great for general social history too, and understanding a little more about this period in history, although the
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I believe this is my first experience with Joan Aiken Hodge.  Based on this novel, I'd possibly try more of her work, but I'd manage my expectations.  Watch the Wall, My Darling is passable.  Elements of it are predictable, but I could have overlooked that if the romance had been more satisfying.  As it was, the hero irritated me, sometimes coming across as a fickle fool, and the heroine was a little too good to be true (wise, clever, attractive, infinitely capable, etc.).  The action sequence n ...more
Karen Spade

I was very excited about this book at the beginning but, I felt, as I read on, the story started falling apart. I don't know if the author has to have a certain amount of pages or what, but so many books I read seem to loosen and fall apart close to the second half; this one sooner than that. At that point, I just wanted it to be over. That's why I could only give it three stars.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Jane Aiken Hodge was the sister of children's book writer Joan Aiken, and a graduate of Somerset College, the same Oxford college attended a generation earlier by Dorothy Sayers. She's a solid writer and builds this Regency-era bit of Gothic silliness on solid research. It's quite fun but completely preposterous—sort of a mad cross between "Jamaica Inn," "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Cold Comfort Farm," and an old fashioned radio-era soap opera.

I enjoyed it—smugglers, ruined abbeys, chases across th
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
A romance/historical/adventure based in English history. Christina Tretton arrives from America to stay with her English relatives during Napoleon's threats of invasion. She arrives at night and is threatened by masked highwaymen before she reaches her destination. She finds that her cousins and aunt are unsettled, unhappy Tretteign Hall residents, existing under the thumb of her controlling grandfather.

She arrives as a pauper and later reveals that she traveled to England to discover the circu
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thank you goodreads! This book was a goodreads recommendation based on my favorites shelf. I had never heard of the book or the author. The library I checked it out from had only one copy in their system and it looks as if it hadn't been checked out for years!

I ended up really liking the story. It came with smugglers; spies; kidnapping; gloomy, English, coastal weather; haunted, crumbling cloisters; humor; romance; and intrigue. Definitely a book I had a hard time putting down.
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good clean historical romance

Very well written, as good as this type of novel gets. The heroine is intelligent, strong, brave, and likeable. The hero is brave also, involved in exciting doings, and has a little angst going....not too much, just enough to make him romantic. What more could you want? Sit back and enjoy!
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Maybe this was more of a 3.5 star book but either way, I enjoyed it!I thought it was going to be a suspenseful mystery and in that way I was dissapointed. However, the characters were so likeable that it made up for it.
Kathie (katmom)
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-ever
This book stayed with me for years. I'd think back on it as I was riding by myself in Alaska at a hunting lodge. Me, the horse, the dog...and this book in my mind. Kept me company.

I loved it. And the very tattered paperback is still on my shelf!
Tahsina Syeda
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Not a bad book. Not a good book either.
Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: open-lib
An old manor, strong heroine, brooding hero, spies, intrigue and danger makes this book an interesting read.
Saadia Mo
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Oh, how deceitful the description is! Makes it sound like the beginning of a great romantic adventure, right? Wrong! This is the story of a doormat who is used and walked all over and does nothing to but lie down and take it! Then she falls for a man who see's her like a man (actually tells her she's like a dude) and claims he can't fall for any woman because he has mother issues but then falls head over heels for her sister! I could have overlooked the constant reminder he doesn't feel anything ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
I was rather disappointed in this book. I liked the main character quite a bit - she was a logical, level-headed woman who didn't mope about or feel sorry for herself. She had a fiery personality but she didn't argue unnecessarily with people and generally avoided conflict with even the most aggravating of characters (I'm looking at you, Mrs. Tretteign). However, the plot didn't play out in the most engaging way. It was interesting at first, but it started to slog in the middle and by the end I ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this little Gothic novel. Set in England during the time when her coast was fearful and watching for the landing of Napoleon's forces, Christina arrives at the manor of her grandfather. Her father had immigrated to America. Following his death, and at his request, Christina comes to England to meet the family her father escaped. She comes with American ideas and culture which are often at odds with what a proper English maiden would do. The night of her arrival her coach is waylaid by ...more
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Jane Aiken Hodge was born in the USA, brought up in the UK and read English at Oxford. She received a master's degree from Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

Before her books became her living she worked as a civil servant, journalist, publishers' reader and a reviewer.

She has written lives of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as well as a book about women in the Regency period, PASSION AND PRINC
More about Jane Aiken Hodge